Welfare checks have revealed that a number of Romanian workers in Perth and Kinross have been forced into overcrowded accommodation. 

In one case, nine people were found to be living in a two-bedroom property with workers sleeping on mattresses in the living room. They also had no hot water and no washing machine.

A multi-agency day of action was sparked after trafficking concerns were raised to the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA).

Alongside police, fire and rescue and Perth and Kinross Council, the authority carried out 23 visits across the local authority.

Almost a third (30%) of the properties visited were identified as overcrowded.

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A total of 54 Romanian workers were interviewed as part of the day of action and asked to complete questionnaires completed. 

Some of the workers raised concerns that they had not received any payslips which the GLAA is working to "rectify". 

The authority also informed the interviewed workers of their employment rights and entitlement to the National Minimum Wage.

GLAA investigating officer Fiona Panetta said: “We carried out the operation after receiving concerns that Romanian workers presenting as homeless to the local authority were potentially trafficked into the UK and exploited.

“Our investigations are still at an early stage but we plan to review all the questionnaires and accounts given during the day and we will address any issues identified.

“A number of workers said they had not received any payslips or were unaware of what they had been paid which we are in the process of rectifying.

“Working together with our partners is really crucial in ensuring that vulnerable workers are protected and all potential issues are thoroughly investigated and addressed.”

Perth and Kinross Council’s convenor of housing and social wellbeing said the findings were "extremely disappointing".

Councillor Tom McEwan said: “We are committed to supporting the health and well-being of all residents in Perth and Kinross and our housing officers were on hand to ensure any issues encountered could be dealt with swiftly during the multi-agency day of action.

“It is extremely disappointing that almost a third of the private properties visited last week were overcrowded and we will always take appropriate action when necessary.

“Nobody should be living in cramped accommodation without basic amenities, and we will be speaking to landlords about their responsibilities to their tenants and the need to make sure their properties are being used safely.”